One Friday night (around August 2014), I took a 7-hour bus ride from Guayaquil to Baños (in Ecuador). I knew nothing about the city, how to get there or where to stay so I was a little bit afraid. But I decided to go for it and had an adventure.
Early that day, while working on my engagement, it dawned on me that all my life I’ve done nothing that can really be considered as adventurous. All I do day-in and day-out are work, work and work. I felt that my life (if to be compared with music) was really monotonous. Yes, I visit so many countries but all I do during those trips is either read books in my hotel room or visit museums. And merely reading books and looking at paintings without experiencing the events behind those stories/paintings seemed really lousy.
So I took my brochure of suggested places to visit in Ecuador (the one I got from the airport). Did a search for the best place to visit for an adventure, and I found Baños. I also Googled for a place to stay in that city. I found and booked a non-posh, US$5-room (it was non-peak season and it was given at a promo price). Then, from my research, there was a bus departing for Baños at around 12 midnight that day. I immediately requested the CEO’s secretary to arrange a taxi from my hotel to the bus terminal (at around 11pm).
My colleagues were against my plan, and nobody would like to join me. To allay, however, their fears, I pretended and just repeated to them what I read from Google as if I knew the place well.
It was an experience that I would never forget. Aside from enjoying the breath-taking sights in the city — the church of “Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa” and the facade of the old buildings in the city itself — I had fun with adventure sports.
…I did bungee jumping at San Francisco bridge. The bridge was around 100-meter high above the river. And, I tried it several times.
…I also explored white water rafting in Pastaza River. I was made as the tour group’s captain because I can control the paddle well. This I owe from my dragon boat training.
…I tried as well the “Swing At The End Of The World”. It will take you out of the cliff with little safety protective mechanisms in place while you sit on a plank of wood. It was bucket-list-worthy. And the view was pretty amazing.
…I tried Canyoning down four waterfalls. The experience was really astonishing. By the way, I almost jumped off without any protection because I thought that the Spanish-speaking guide was telling me to jump. He was actually telling me to wait until he secured me to the rope. Fortunately, there were English-speaking Ecuadorians in that group. Whew!
I wanted to try paragliding as well, and I actually already paid for it. However, I was told that I was the only one interested that day, and the minimum number required for the sport was four people. I waited for others who would like to try it, but none arrived.
The Chiva’s ride to the different waterfalls was really good as well. It gave me an idea of the places I need to visit and the things I need to try in that city. Also, in the evening, the panoramic view on top of the mountain with the volcano spewing lava was picture-perfect.
As a whole, it was a wonderful experience. The whole thing helped me became better at my job. I took risk when I was trained, as an auditor, to veer away from the things that could go wrong. It taught me not to be afraid to explore and experience the world around me. It taught me how to appreciate the intricacies beyond the theories contained in the words I write as recommendations to my clients.
In relation to life, it gave me a fresh outlook in the way I see things. It made me appreciate life behind the books I read or the paintings I saw. It also made me realize that I can do more beyond my perceived limitation. And what is really important was that it taught me that actual experience is far better from the stories you read or hear.
Now, why am I sharing this to you?
Friends, we often times are stuck in our daily routine. We keep on doing the same tired things repeatedly every day. Sometimes it leaves a feeling that we are actually not moving or progressing — say in our careers. It is important that you realize that a lot of potential is lying dormant inside of you. And that you fail to see that because you are too focused on executing your daily routines. What you need is to take a few steps back, and try something crazy or different before you continue tackling what you do.
A break in your routine can do a lot of things in your outlook. So, go ahead, explore and experience different things around you. Just make sure that these are not illegal.
PS: This is a must read for all.
Wondered how others have reached their goals?
Wanted to be more engaged and present?
Wanted your life to be filled with adventure?